Nov
24
2018
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Book of the Week: Damnation Alley.

Although I will say this: like everybody else (including its author Roger Zelazny), I’d recommend Damnation Alley the novella over the novel.  It’s a good post-apocalyptic road trip story* that’s influenced a lot of other stuff out there, but the novella is simply tighter than the longer version.  ‘Course, the novel probably paid better.

Moe Lane

*Just ignore how ridiculous the weather conditions are.  I mean, they’re really ridiculous.  In ways that are sometimes hard to fathom.

Feb
17
2018
3

Book of the Week: The Great Book of Amber.

The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 is a collection of Roger Zelazny’s ten Chronicles of Amber novels (but not the short fiction).  Back when I was a kid, when I joined the Science Fiction Book Club (it did not end well) I got a collection of the first five Chronicle of Amber novels as part of my introductory package; I read the other five… later. These are definitely books that you need to read if you want to understand how the fantasy genre developed post-Tolkien.  They’re also, you know, good.

And so, adieu to Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories. (more…)

Sep
30
2014
10

Book of the Week: Lord of Light (We hit a Patreon goal!).

Patreon link here: they need buttons, frankly.  Anyway: time to bring back Book of the Week as a regular feature.  I’ll do it every Sunday, so that I can remember it easily, but we’ll begin with one for the rest of the week: Lord of Light.  I mentioned it, like, five years ago, but it really is one of the best science fiction novels of the 1960s, and maybe the best one that Roger Zelazny ever wrote. It’s kind of about Hinduism (explicitly), kind of about Buddhism (explicitly), and kind of about how Enlightenment can take you over even when you don’t want it too; but it’s mostly just good. It’s so good, in fact, that I don’t know if anybody’s ever really tried to top it.

(more…)

Feb
23
2009
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Looking for someone to read? (Roger Zelazny)

(Today’s author: Roger Zelazny)

Don’t get me wrong: I loved the Amber series.  Very good alternate-universe stuff, in a conceptual sense.  Never really got into the paradoxes (paradoxi?) inherent in the premise of One True Reality and a Multitude of Shadows, but then, neither did H Beam Piper’s Paratime series, so who are we to judge? Well worth reading, in other words.

But it’s Lord of Light that triggered this entry.  The book is one of the first ones that I can think of that mixed science fiction with Indian themes (that’s Asian Indian, not Native American), and in a fashion that showed an understanding of the source material.  A very short synopsis: the main character is in opposition to a society where Hinduism has been co-opted to reinforce the somewhat restrictive rule of its ‘gods.’  This being a science fiction story, that includes a technological form of reincarnation; this also being New Wave, it meant a certain amount of other psionic* abilities.  This being written by Roger Zelazny, it’s excellent stuff; the hero foments his rebellion against this co-opted Hinduism by creating Buddhism… with results that would later prove bemusing.  All in all, it’s one of those books that you wish had a sequel, but you’re sort of glad doesn’t; it probably wouldn’t have been as good anyway.

Plus, the CIA used a script based on this book to smuggle some embassy people out of Iran during the hostage crisis – no, really – so there’s some good karma there.

Yes, I just did that.

Moe Lane

*That’s a science fiction term meaning ‘magic.’

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